The Tan Sandals With The 2" Heels, 1979

When I saw them upstage the Mary Janes
like an actress disdaining a nun, I laid down
all my sticky coins, my pre-teen promises.

Those sandals had heels that wrote
on wooden floors, buckles with attitude,
while a sassy cut-out each side
threw its window open to boys.

I perfected a street girl’s stance, one sole
propped up against the wall outside class.
Hey guys, she’s here; this girl’s got feet.

But I had taken possession of more than I knew.
Those sandals offered up Cleopatra’s golden pumps,
holding the secrets of kohl. They unlaced
the boots of French courtesans laden
with lipstick and rouge. They shimmied my hips
like the red stilettos Olivia Newton John
used to get the one she wanted.
They taught me that everything a woman
isn’t born with she must strap on like the armor
of her heroines. They delivered me
that kick I felt, like the flick of a tongue,
the first time a male’s eyes lingered.

Previously appeared in Byline

Index Of Published Poems